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Times Prince

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About Me

  • Location
    Central Texas
  • Interests
    music - playing guitar
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess Cruises
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean

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  1. While some of the loyalty changes are discouraging, we still see Princess as offering a quality vacation that fits our desires. The one Elite perk that would impact us is the free laundry and they have kept it as a benefit. The other benefit we used was free internet minutes, and losing that is an inconvenience that we will now have to pay for. However, having sailed with Royal Caribbean we found ourselves paying not only internet but also for things that are included by Princess, like movies on demand in our stateroom. The Carnival Corp shareholder benefit certainly helps maintain our loyalty to their brands. Interesting that you mention United Airlines - our experience has been that almost every time we near the number of miles for a flight, they raise the requirement, or expired the miles accrued. The only time I was able to cash in was when I was a frequent business traveler - and then I used the flight for a trip my daughter needed to take. At least Princess has benefits that one can actually use.
  2. Actually they tried this a while back, checking out devices for personalized MUTS sound. Apparently this was an experiment that didn't work.
  3. Replacing the internet loyalty package with a 50% discount on a $9.99/day/device cost is a major loss for us. We usually manage our internet within the previous benefit, even using multiple devices, so it looks like we are paying a penalty for people who like to stream all sorts of stuff. Not a plus. Loss of the loyalty credit doesn't help either.
  4. First cruise: 1996, Sun Princess, 2010 passengers, 7 day Western Caribbean. Loved it, and have been on 31 cruises, total. We are mostly brand loyal because we like the service, prices, and perks from Princess Cruises. Back then a 7-day cruise had 2 formal nights, 2 semi formal nights, and 3 casual nights, and the dress code was expected and enforced. We initially started cruising to escape the high stress pager/phone requirements of our jobs, and it was great – no one could interrupt our vacation (which had happened on land trips). Changes happen, some good, some not so good. Formal nights have devolved into semi-formal, with many not following that theme. Freedom from electronic leashes has changed to needing to carry a smart phone for the new Medallion system. But we have found Princess Cruises to offer a quality product that continues to meet most of our expectations. We have found the food to be really nice, and we are pleased with the addition of quality no-cost venues, like Alfredo’s Pizza, and an upgrade of buffet food to include selections from the main dining room menus as well as international themed dinners. The main dining room meals have changed from 6-7 course meals to your choice of 3-4 courses. The only drawback is that the number of courses and time required to eat is often tied to the appetite of the person who orders the most, both for politeness and because wait staffing has been reduced, with less individual customization possible. The all-night buffet of 1996, useful after a late night of shows, dancing, etc. is gone. We have found the entertainment to be consistently excellent, and we enjoy having both shows and live music, even though there are now fewer bands onboard. Being ballroom dancers the loss of a good dance floor on the more recent build ships (Royal Class) was a disappointment. Electronic entertainment (TV, movies) has become much better with the advent of Movies Under the Stars, and the no charge on-demand movies in the staterooms which include recent releases (another line we tried charged $12 for each movie) beats trying to watch scheduled TV shows or movies. We enjoyed playing ping-pong and miniature golf, although those are not always convenient nor available. Most of all the crew has been consistently excellent in our experience. The stateroom stewards are attentive and thorough, and we enjoy the moments when we hear about their lives and home culture. They are almost always deserving of an extra gratuity. My one big gripe is the transition of normal bedding with sheets and blankets to beds having a duvet, which for me is either too hot (on) or too cold (off). This is a designer change that does not work for all. Bottom line, the cost of cruising is good, better than most land vacations, the ports visited have good variety and excursion options.
  5. Interesting story: when on the Grand Princess in 2000, we anchored at Monaco, which was a tender port. In the afternoon a very large yacht came up alongside, and later the Captain of the Grand Princess announced the Arab owner of the yacht had asked for and been given a tour, after which he asked "How much for the ship?" Apparently Princess Cruises wasn't willing to part with their newest ship at that time. 😀
  6. We were on Pacific Princess II (the current one) for a Tahiti to Hawaii cruise, which was fabulous! The ship has a more intimate feeling, and we were lucky enough to get to know the Cruise Director and staff as they have more time to meet guests. If flying from the USA (we went through LAX), do try to book Air Tahiti Nui. Even economy felt like luxury, and the people who flew in a day or two earlier reported a lot fewer passengers onboard. Our cruise had no issues at all with rough seas, and even the day of more wave amplitude the ship's stabilizers handled it well. Regarding upcoming TransAtlantics, the ships are much bigger and quite a bit less susceptible to motion. Indeed a lot of the time we couldn't feel anything at all.
  7. Yes, Princess insurance is secondary coverage. With a Medicare Advantage coverage as the primary insurance, the doctor bill for onboard medical is covered at the usual rates. However Plan D prescription coverage does not pay for medications prescribed and taken whilst out of the USA. For those we get the denial and then submit to the Princess Insurance carrier. The biggest hassle we've had is for primary insurance wanting US ICDA procedure codes which are not on the bill received onboard from Princess. The longest we've taken for the onboard medical claims to be finally settled was about 6 months, 5 of which was our primary insurance (pre-retirement) being idiots saying "we've already processed that claim" when they hadn't. Thank God we have not had to be airlifted or hospitalized interrupting a cruise, so I can't comment from personal experience on that type of coverage.
  8. We have used Princess Platinum insurance since we started cruising (slightly different name back then). No problem with pre-existing conditions, and between it and our primary insurance it has covered every shipboard malady we've had @ 100%. As mentioned it does have cancel for any reason coverage. When researching travel insurance be sure to check if it covers you based on the state you live in. Living in Texas we have found that some popular trip insurance plans do not cover us (Texas has really weird regulations about insurance).
  9. The size of the balcony doesn't affect the ability to get fresh air at all, as it only takes minutes for an open balcony door to completely refresh the air in a room. We've found the balconies on Royal Princess to be totally adequate, and have spent many an hour outdoors on our balcony enjoying the sea air. We are not spring chickens but we also enjoy cruising and experiencing the local culture where possible and safe. Where we agree is that cruising is not in the cards for us until vaccines are out and proven effective (not this 50% goal that is being pushed right now - that's a coin toss.) However money is not the issue and one doesn't need to be affluent to cruise. I think you've got the future market wrong, or perhaps one that is more applicable to Carnival or RCCL.
  10. You are right. When sailing the Royal Princess we've had a cabin near the aft set of elevators for access to the buffet areas. And midships had the usual set of elevators including the two glass elevators facing the atrium. We tried the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas, and it only had the two sets of elevators, midship and forward. Perhaps the OP has his cruise lines mixed up.
  11. It is after 15 cruise credits are achieved. The exception may be if one has booked what is normally 2 back to back cruises as a single cruise and your 15th cruise is in the first leg. Then the Elite status is after the end of the booked cruise. If you are in that case, then talk to the Captain's Circle representative onboard and he/she may change your status for the 2nd leg to Elite.
  12. The pre-pandemic timing shown above defined the problem. All the dining rooms pretty much filled @5 -5:30, and tables or sections didn't open up until 7:30. Our preferred dining time was about 7:00-7:15 and we were always given a pager and told to wait until 7:30, at which time we were directed to the dining room on deck 6, which was just finishing the Traditional early seating. When we turned in our pager there was always a large line waiting for ATD. On Royal Princess we found the Horizon Court dining to be very good. The food was almost always hot and tasty. Alfredo's was a good dining alternate and never had a wait.
  13. The problem with some brokerage statements is they have you full name on one page and just the account number on another showing your holdings. This was insufficient for CCL/Princess the last time we sailed, and we had to get a letter from our broker. This is a good reason for not waiting until the last minute to submit your request for shareholder benefit.
  14. Also I have found that any Princess Cruises special offer that has a non-refundable deposit says this clearly in the offer details. When actually booking online it will also ask if you are aware it is non-refundable. Without these notifications, the deposit is refundable.
  15. In addition I have also found that booking direct with airlines can beat the "best" prices offered by booking engines. When going to a new destination I will check those booking engines to find what airline offers the best fares, and then will go to the airline site to get the flight less expensive.
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